Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), during his visit to Greece with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, continued his pilgrimage to places associated with St. Paul’s missionary journeys. His Eminence is accompanied by Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations, Hieromonk Gregory (Sokolov), DECR, and Sub-deacon V. Li.
In Athens, the pilgrims visited the place on Areopagus where the apostle used to preach. They venerated the relics of the Holy Martyr Gregory V, Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Venerable Martyr Philothea, which rest at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Athens.
Then Metropolitan Hilarion and his fellow travellers visited the place where, according to tradition, St. Paul stopped on his way to Athens, to see the archaeological digs of an old Christian basilica of the 6th century dedicated to the apostle.
Metropolitan Hilarion also visited the nearby Metropolises of Mesogaia and Glyfada and had a fraternal talk with Metropolitans Nicholas of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki and Anthony of Glyfada.
When in Veroia, Metropolitan Hilarion saw the places described in the Acts of the Apostles: an ancient synagogue in which St. Paul preached to Jews, and the Bema from which he used to address all the city folks.
The pilgrims also visited the cathedral of the Metropolis of Veroia, in which they venerated the honourable head of St. Andrew-the-First-Called, which had been brought to Veroia from Patrae for the annual St. Paul festival, and visited the ancient basilica dedicated to Ss Paul and Peter (11th cent.)
In the monastery of the Panagia Dobra, Metropolitan Hilarion met with Metropolitan Panteleimon of Veria, Naoussa and Campania.